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Go-To Guy Lanny Breuer Seems a Bargain

Covington & Burling’s Lanny Breuer is the newest go-to lawyer in a crisis, and he’s with a firm that seems to be remaking itself as one of the nation’s best after several decades of what might charitably be called “malaise.”

Breuer joined Covington after several years in the Bill Clinton White House working on impeachment issues. He got his first high-profile client when a friend from the White House, Sandy Berger, asked for representation after an investigation disclosed Berger’s theft of classified documents from the National Archives. Berger’s relative wrist slap made other potential clients take notice.

In Breuer’s bullpen now is former Citibank head Charles Prince, who recently appeared before a congressional committee. But no case is getting Breuer more front-page photo space than his relationship with major-league pitcher Roger Clemens.


Breuer accompanied Clemens to the congressional hearing on steroids and now is likely to guide his client through the Justice Department’s investigation into alleged perjury.

Clemens’s last contract with the New York Yankees awarded him $28,000,022 (the last two digits are Clemens’s uniform number). Breuer is said to charge about $800 an hour for his time.

In his 2007 season with the Yankees, Clemens worked 51 hours, based on 17 starts with each start about three hours of work, including clubhouse time and postgame rubdowns.

By those numbers, Clemens billed the Yankees $549,020 per hour in 2007. At the $800-to-$1,000-an-hour rate of top Washington lawyers, Breuer would have to bill 24 hours a day for 1,458 days just to catch up.

So maybe lawyers aren’t overpaid after all.

This article can be found in the April 2008 issue of The Washingtonian.

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